Questions answered: What pets owners should know about the coronavirus

Dogs wearing masks are seen in a stroller in Shanghai on February 19, 2020. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images) (NOEL CELIS, Getty Images)

HOUSTON – There are at least 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in and around the Houston area. With growing concerns about the spread of the disease, people have a lot of questions:

While we all have concerns about our health, pet owners are also wondering how the new coronavirus could affect their furry friends.

The Houston Humane Society put out a helpful list that answered some of the most pressing questions.

Can pets spread coronavirus?

According to the Houston Humane Society, there is no evidence that shows animals can spread COVID-19.

Can your dog catch COVID-19?

While there were reports that one dog tested positive for the disease, it is unlikely that your pet can get COVID-19 or spread it to you. The dog that tested positive showed no signs of infection but could have been contaminated, not infected, with the disease. Click here to read more about the case.

Why is there a coronavirus vaccine for dogs?

Coronavirus is not a new disease. According to VCA Hospitals, other strains of coronavirus is a highly infectious disease that usually occurs in puppies. The disease is short-lived but could cause abdominal discomfort for a few days. It does not affect people, according to VCA. The Houston Humane Society said there is a vaccine available for dogs, but it is for canine coronavirus and has nothing to do with COVID-19.

What if I have to self-quarantine because of COVID-19?

The number one recommendation from the Houston Human Society is to limit contact with your pet. This includes, petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.

Owners should also try to make alternate arrangements for their pets in case of illness, but if there is no alternative, the Houston Human Society suggests washing your hand before and after every interaction.

Service animals should be permitted to stay with their handler, but it is still recommended to wash your hands and limit contact.

The Houston Humane Society always recommends washing your hands and practicing good hygiene when you are handling or are around animals, and to contact your vet if you notice a change in your pet’s health.

What do I need if I want to make alternate arrangements for my pet?

The Houston Human Society suggests five things:

  • People should identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if someone in the household becomes ill.
  • Have crates, food and extra supplies on hand for quick movement of pets.
  • Keep all animal vaccines up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary.
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering directions. Including the prescription from your veterinarian is also helpful.
  • Pets should have identification: collar with ID tag and microchip.

Pets are good to have around during this high-stress time when people are being urged to stay home. According to the Houston Human Society, they help lower blood pressure and ease the feeling of stress.

The Houston Humane Society said that owners should always include their pets in any emergency preparedness plan (COVID-19 or otherwise) and ensure their pets have enough food and other necessities.

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.